Poor pupil behaviour is one of the most talked about, argued over and lamented issues in the teaching community. What is the best way to solve behaviour issues? Which expert should we listen to? Is this a crisis? Is it a parenting issue? Tes reports.
We will all come up against behaviour issues at some point in our career, some of us more than others. The causes are multiple and varied, the reasons sometimes mysterious but often there if you look hard enough.
But here’s another question (and at this point I will take cover) – is it ever our fault? I think it can be. I have spoken to many colleagues who cite poor resource preparation, slack classroom routines and lack of communication with additional adults as reasons why things have snowballed in their classrooms.
It is how we receive, plan for and deal with the behaviour that matters.
Not every lesson needs to be full of bells and whistles. How can it be? Sometimes we just need to learn what a fraction is. Or how an oxbow lake is formed. Or how to correctly set out a bar graph.
I would no more expect my class to misbehave during one of these lessons then when we are blowing up our homemade rockets with some diet coke and chewy sweets.
So poor lessons can be a factor, however you teach them.
Bias can also often have a part to play in behaviour. I remember one pupil in particular who had travelled up the school with a reputation for being a handful. Teachers would warn each other every summer about what was to befall them in September.
Let’s think about the effect this might have on the teacher receiving that pupil. In his blog The Teacherist, Pran Patel talks about different types of bias but this in particular resonated with me:
“The way you act verbally and non-verbally based on your preconceived notion of that pupil will impact on the outcomes for that pupil. If that pre-conceived notion is biased we are likely to impact negatively on those groups.”
And what about our more general attitude to the job? Are you planning to fail, or planning to succeed? You have to believe that you are going to have a good day, every day.